Everybody notices ears, and since minor variations from the "normal" are extremely common, you might like to learn about the normal ear. The external ear, the auricle, projects from the side of the head at a slight angle, usually not more than 30 degrees. The rolled outer margin of the ear, the helix, is attached to the side of the face above the ear, and, after sweeping around its edge, ends at the earlobe. A second fold, the anthelix, parallels the helix and ends just above the earlobe, in a small protrusion of cartilage called the antitragus. The counterpart of the antitragus is the tragus, the cartilaginous protrusion just in front of the ear canal. This elaborate ear structure begins its development in the sixth week of fetal life. It starts out as six tiny hillocks of tissue around the ear canal that grow and merge together. After 14 weeks of following a precise pattern, the fetal ear finally achieves the adult shape.ear tragus When you consider the complexity of their formation, it's a small miracle that ears come out looking as good as they do. During the last month of pregnancy, the ear becomes somewhat rigid and the folds begin to stand out more prominently, so that, in this sense, ear stiffness is a criterion of maturity. The baby's ear is one third the length of the adult's, and by the age of six years, the child's ear is close to adult size. Folding inward is simply a result of facial compression in a tightly packed womb. If your baby's ears are folded forward, they will soon unfold. MISSING PARTS: PROTRUDING OR LOP EAR Commonly, a part of the outer roll of the ear, the helix, appears to be absent and the ear looks as if someone ran an iron over it. This is especially common in premies and they tend to complete the helix as they mature. Likewise, babies whose ears were pressed against their heads by crowding will also improve with time. If the anthelix (another fold paralleling the helix) is sparse, but not absent, the ear will protrude. Usually this trait runs in certain families. It helps you to recognize kin when you're approaching a crowd from behind.